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Digital print-on-demand (POD) technology has now made it possible to produce in a few minutes one-off books, calendars and other items at reasonable prices. This opens numerous doors for writers and photographers wishing to use their work in creative and useful ways. Personalized wedding books, calendars and portfolios are obvious examples. For writers or photographers who just want to produce a few dozen copies of a family memoir or custom-designed photograph album, or who have exhausted the possibilities of the commercial publishing market, a POD service can be an excellent solution. It can provide an attractive book at a far lower cost than traditional vanity publishing, and offers many of the same benefits. Also, since the book is produced only when ordered, the risk of ending up with a garage full of unsold volumes is eliminated.

However, there are some hazards associated with the new technology. The principal one is probably the stigma attached to what is widely seen as either vanity publishing or self-publishing. Publication of a POD book implies, at least in the eyes of some people, that the author was unable to attract a commercial publishing contract. Since no independent editor is involved, the standard of the work is also likely to be lower in many cases than that of commercially published work. Booksellers are unlikely to be interested in selling POD publications, and marketing and distribution remain difficult despite the services offered by some POD services and organizations such as Amazon.

Various websites offer services of this type. Begin by having a look at the following:

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